The Wit and Wisdom of Peter Wells

aspiring authorI can’t tell you how I discovered Peter Wells, but once I started reading his flash fiction, I was hooked. They deal with the common man–common not necessarily in status, but their foibles, worries, and failures. Peter reminds us that even failing at our goals includes humor and humanity. His maxim:

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same…”

He has worked in the corporate, financial and self-employed worlds, and enjoyed adventures on a number of continents and sailing over several seas. His writing is inspired by his working and traveling life, and the people he has met through them. He now lives just south of London and is the proud father of three daughters.

He has two books out now–Living Life Backwards and The Man Who Missed the Boat. I wanted to know about that authorial journey so Peter agreed to answer a few specific questions about his writing:

How hard was it to write your second book compared to the first? Easier? Faster?

I’d say, if anything, it was a bit easier. I had some thoughts about the second book, based on what people had said about the first, so I tried to make it a bit pacier, and with more viewpoints on the same unfolding situation.

For me, it’s all about the pace of writing. For the first book I committed myself to a target of 1600 and I pretty much kept to that. For the second book I was gentler on myself and only demanded 1000 words a day. Regardless of the number of words, I find, for me at least, once you have started writing a book you must continue and then finish it without mercy to yourself. If I dare to let a Blog post or a book rest it goes cold on me, the characters cease to be distinct and active in my imagination and the plot runs out of momentum.

So you see, carrying on with discipline is essential to me: a “Rest” is the same as giving up, and we can never do that can we!?

On the topic of marketing: What have you tried and what has/hasn’t worked?

Let’s face it, you could write what I know about Marketing on a pinhead. I stick the cover, alias links to my books on the side of my Blog and hope that after someone has read my post and enjoyed it, they might wander over to Amazon via said links and take a closer look at the novel and other people’s comments. In fact that seldom happens. I do scrabble around on Face Book a certain amount and my Twitter account is linked to my Blog in accordance with the advice of many marketing books, but the number of my followers on Twitter seems to fall and rise within a fairly predictable band without any input or understanding from me. My only advice to anyone with regard to marketing as with anything else is to be genuine and to reach out to other people as you would in your personal daily life.

I do not write in an easily identifiable genre, which I think makes my books harder to place and thus to market. I am hoping that my reputation as a story teller and lover of language will gradually make my novels better known: it is a slow process I am not without determination.

Who helps you with editing? Is it beta readers, friends, a writing group, or a professional?

Ah, well I have an editor who has worked with me on both books. She is a lovely lady by the name of Stacey Brewer who, as well as working for my publishing company, has just established her own editing and beta reading service. She is very easy to work with and all her excellent suggestions are very politely made.

I’m always curious about what surroundings pique creativity for writers. Would you tell me about your writing space (share a picture with us maybe)? writing space

That’s an interesting question. For quite a long time I sat writing at a window which afforded me a quite beautiful view of the Thames at a point at which, in my opinion, it was attempting to imitate it’s rather larger cousin, the Mississippi, so everything you could wish hope for a writer, but then I developed a repetitive strain injury in my wrist, and part of the problem seemed to be the height of the table in relation to the chair, so I have now had to move to a more ordinary position which affords no real view at all. Let us hope that is not reflected in the writing!

What’s the thinking behind your blog title, Counting Ducks? It makes me think of nature, math, and having time to smell the flowers. Am I way off base?

As you can see our apartment is right on the river, and so I often walk up and down the banks of the Thames admiring the plants and wildlife and especially the ducks and geese who live in plentiful numbers on the banks near our home. There is something about their approach to life which seems to involve a bewildered and busy wisdom which I always find enchanting and so I came up with the name.

One of my favorite quotes about writing is from Ben Franklin: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.” Do you have a favorite writing quote

I don’t have a special quote about writing that I love, but I do enjoy the quote you have used in the question. In many ways, I feel, to write well, it is important to have lived well and enjoyed, or not enjoyed, a wealth of adventures and experiences which you can draw on in your writing.

 To purchase Living Life Backwards and/or The Man Who Missed the Boat, click the links below:

More on aspiring authors:

A Chat with Author, CW Spooner

A Chat with Rebecca Bradley About Her Exciting New Book

POV: Two Perspectives

24 thoughts on “The Wit and Wisdom of Peter Wells

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  3. Great interview, I always enjoy hearing about authors, their work and snippets of their life, inspiration – and great BF quote!
    (Agreed with the romance comments, I never read them!)


  4. Thank you for this introduction to Peter Wells and his books. Fabulous interview. I believe you should write what comes naturally to you. No point in in trying the Romance or YA orany other bandwagon if it feels uncomfortable or foreign to you just because those genres are hot now.


  5. It is a slow process, most of the time, to develop a fan base. The thing with Peter is that if you find yourself enjoying his intimate views into hearts and minds — you will be a fan for life.


  6. Peter says he doesn’t write within an identifiable genre, and I’m sure he’s correct in thinking that makes marketing more difficult. Someone once advised me to take up romance, something I’m incapable of doing even if I wanted to. Which I don’t.


    • I’m with you on that, Rod. I’ve accidentally picked up what is euphemistically termed ‘romance thriller’ and realized why I don’t read romance. Most of it is nothing like the real world.

      Of course, neither are thrillers, but that doesn’t seem to dampen my interest in Brad Thor or Lee Child.


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